Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;I mentioned this verse in my Sunday School class with the college age as well as mentioned it in a sermon in passing. Why would the Holy Spirit encourage us to follow God "as dear children?" I allowed my Sunday School class to give their thoughts first.
A child doesn't worry about the affairs of this world. A child doesn't stay up all night worrying about the electric bill, job security, and the economy. They just know their father will take care of them. Oh that each of us had this kind of faith that we were not so burdened down by the affairs and cares of this world. Oh that each of us just trusted the Father will take care of it all.
A child loves being around other children. It doesn't take long for a child to meet another child and soon befriend. Prejudices are removed, differences ignored, and bonds of friendship are created. Matter a fact, when you see a child that is all alone when other children are present, you know either that child is sick, in trouble, or something is terribly wrong. No wonder we are instructed to be a dear children. We too should love to be around God's people. We should love to be in the presence of the family of God. We too should be able to remove prejudices and ignore the differences not warned against in Scripture. Is it not true, that a Christian who wants and desires no fellowship from other Christians is either spiritually sick, in sin and in "trouble" with the Lord, or something else is terribly wrong?
A child just has a simple faith. If you tell a child something, they will most often just believe it. When a father and mother have loved and reared their children right, that child will believe most every word from them. No wonder the faith of a little child is talked about so much in Scripture. May we just believe what our Father has told us and not have to figure everything out in our own minds first.
A child loves. A child does not make anyone earn their love, they reciprocate a love shown to them. Ofttimes a child loves even those who have done nothing to reciprocate that love. Their heart just loves. We love Him...because we learned quickly that truly He loves us. We should love others, even when they don't "deserve" our love. We should have a love one for another.
A child enjoys life. Did you know that God wants us to enjoy life? God so desires us to enjoy the world and people He has given to us. Now, don't get me wrong, we were created for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11), but as a loving Father, God has created for us a world for our pleasure. He could have made everything brown or gray, but look outside today at the beauty around us. Why a rose? Why a rosy sunset? Why the autumn leaves? Why the taste of sweet apple? Why the joy in the kiss from your spouse? Why smell of the lavender? Why softness of a baby's skin? Why the song of the nightingale? For our pleasure! God wants us to be happy. God wants us to be joyful and enjoy pleasure.
I fear some times that preaching against pleasure is so much one sided preaching, that we are blinded to the fact that God wants us happy. There are Christians who feel guilty because they are happy. Feel dirty when they are pleased. They feel they are wicked for enjoying something, or wrong if bad things are not happening to them.
Let us be clear, we are not to live our lives to please our flesh. We should live our lives to bring honor to God and therefore our actions should all be pleasing to God in accordance to His Word; but my fellow saint, God wants us to enjoy our lives.
Psalm 5:11 "But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy....let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee."
Psalm 32:11 "Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart."
Habakkuk 3:18 "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
John 15:11 "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
1 Peter 1:8 "Whom having not seen, ye love: in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory"
1 John 1:4 "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."Bottom line is, God wants us happy and those who have put their trust in the Lord, are upright in heart, following the Word of God should be the happiest people on the planet. We should be able to enjoy all of God's creation like no one else. We should find the most pleasure, most joy, most satisfaction because we know the One who gave it all to us!
Still, we struggle don't we? We still try to draw a line as to "how much pleasure" and such. Yesterday it hit me! My daughters brought this note to my wife:
Then when I got to church, I found this on my desk from my son:
You know what my children did for us? They trusted us, loved each other, enjoyed life, obeyed us, and told us the best they could that they loved and appreciated us. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have these two notes, than a framed letter from any star or dignitary. As a Father, I know what they are able to do, and nothing makes me more pleased than to watch them do right and hear from them like in these notes.
Friend, you don't need to impress God...we can't. He just wants us to follow Him as dear children. Just do right, and let Him know how much you love and appreciate Him. Happy New Year! Let's enjoy this year as children of God!